2010 Calvin Women’s Cross Country Preview
Saturday, August 21, 2010
After graduating five members of its team that competed at the 2009 NCAA III Cross Country Championships, the 2010 Calvin women’s cross country team will feature a different look this fall.
The cupboard is not completely bare however.
The Knights return 11 varsity letterwinners including three that were named to the All-MIAA first and one that was named to the All-MIAA second team.
“This team will have a different makeup but I am excited about what lies ahed for this group,” said head women’s cross country coach Brian Diemer. “If this team works together and continues to work hard, it can accomplish some really outstanding things.”
Returning first team All-MIAA selections are senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) and juniors Rebecca Hiemstra (Dusseldorf, Germany/International School of Dusseldorf) and Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS). Senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids, MI/Grand Rapids Christian HS) is a returning second team All-MIAA selection. Braymer and Hoekstra are also returning Great Lakes All-Region honorees.
Braymer was sixth at the MIAA Cross Country Championships last fall, 18th at the Great Lakes Regional meet and 150th at the NCAA III Championships. During the spring, Braymer qualified for the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000 meter steeplechase for the second straight year and placed 15th.
Hiemstra took 11th at the MIAA Cross Country Championships but did not run in Calvin’s top seven at either the regional or national meets. In the spring, she was the MIAA runner-up in the 1500 meters. She also ran a leg on Calvin’s MIAA champion 4x400 meter relay team. Hoekstra is coming off a strong sophomore campaign. In the fall, she placed ninth at the MIAA Cross Country Championships, 17th at the Great Lakes Regional meet and 75th at the NCAA III Championships. During the spring, she was the MIAA champion in the 1500 meters at the MIAA Field Day while also placing fourth in the 800 meters. She also came close to clocking an NCAA III provisional qualifying time in the 1500 meters late in the season.
Tuuk is another savvy veteran. She placed seventh at the MIAA jamboree and 13th at the MIAA Championships. During the spring, she had a strong track and field campaign, finishing second at the MIAA Field Day in the 800 meters and fourth in the 800 meters. She also ran on Calvin’s MIAA champion 4x400 meter relay team and later ran on Calvin’s 4x400 meter relay team that competed at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Other returning letterwinners include seniors Andrea Beukema (Grand Rapids, MI/Grand Rapids Christian HS), Anna VanWyk (Dorr, MI/South Christian HS) and Elizabeth Feenstra (Grand Rapids, MI/Grand Rapids Christian HS), juniors Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia, MI/South Christian HS), Sarah Fennema (Brookfield, WI/Milwaukee Lutheran HS) and Samantha Westveer (Kentwood, MI/East Kentwood HS) and sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids, MI/Grand Rapids Christian HS).
Senior Kristen Fletcher (Fort Wayne, IN/Concordia Lutheran HS) also returns after a year away from the team.
At the 2009 MIAA Cross Country Championships, Westveer was 16th, Penning 18th, Diemer 26th, Feenstra 27th, Beukema 31st, Van Wyk 56th and Fennema 80th. During the MIAA track and field season, Diemer captured a league title in the 800 meters and ran on Calvin’s 4x400 meter relay team that captured a league title and earned a trip to the NCAA III Championships. Penning also had an outstanding spring, recording an NCAA III provisional qualifying time in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Meanwhile VanWyk was eighth in the 10,000 meters at the MIAA Field Day.
Looking to make the move up from the junior varsity to the varsity ranks this year will be juniors Eva Kort (Colorado Springs, CO/Doherty HS), Sarah Orndorff (Huron, OH/Huron HS), Kristin VanKampen (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS) and sophomores Kaylea Brase (Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial HS), Christine Hartley (Pewaukee, WI/Lake Country HS) and Hannah Kregel (Iowa City, IA/Iowa City HS).
Calvin will open its schedule on September 18 when it hosts the Calvin Knight Invitational. The race will be one of two on Calvin’s home course at the Gainey Athletic Complex as the Knights will also host the MIAA Championships on October 30. The MIAA jamboree is slated for September 25 with Olivet serving as host. The Knights will also compete at invitationals hosted by Notre Dame, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Manchester, Loyola (IL) and Oakland University. The NCAA III Great Lakes Regional meet will be hosted by Hope College on November 13 in Holland, giving fans of Calvin cross country another chance to watch the Knights nearby.
the NCAA III Championships are slated for November 20 in Waverly, Iowa, with Wartburg College serving as host.
“We have another great schedule and I’m thrilled that we have several races close to home,” said Diemer. “We have always received tremendous support from our fans and the Calvin community. I am excited that they will have a chance to watch us on more than one occasion without having to travel too far from home.”
Calvin will also be looking to build on its academic success last year as the Knights produced a team grade point average of 3.605 to rank second among all MIAA schools. Calvin also had 12 individuals earn a spot on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll for posting a GPA of 3.50 or above during the 2009-10 academic year. Returning letterwinners that were on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll include Beukema, Braymer, Feenstra, Fennema, Hiemstra, Penning, Tuuk and VanWyk.